Matthew Shell is a music producer & engineer from Washington D.C. recently featured on GRAMMY.com.
Matthew’s production work included in Marcus Johnson’s “FLO Chill” landed him a solid number #7 on the Billboard Jazz charts. Matthew has since worked with Paul Jackson Jr., Jeff Lorber, Greg Adams, Gerald Albright, Marcus Mitchell, Trey Eley & others from the jazz world. Also, Matthew’s engineering for the rock band O.A.R.’s “Rain Or Shine” made its mark at #5 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart.
Press coverage is increasing for Matthew’s production work. Most recently, vocal artist Kenny Wesley’s “Rock With You” music video was featured on FreesWorld.com & Grammy nominated Carolyn Malachi’s “Beautiful Dreamer” music video was shown & discussed on Fox 5 DC Morning News.
Matthew’s global reach is spreading, especially on SoundCloud where he regularly releases new music. His newest release is a collaborative jazz/rock album, titled “Trey Eley & Matthew Shell Present: Freedom”. This project features artists from around the world, including Grammy & Emmy nominated trumpet player Greg Adams (Tower of Power/East Bay Soul).
How long have you been involved in music?
My entire life has been inspired by music. Both of my parents were classically trained musicians, so I have not known a life without music.
What instruments do you play?
I have played piano since age 3, drums since age 5, and I picked up acoustic guitar and bass guitar in high school. Acoustic guitar has since become my primary instrument and the one I’m most comfortable playing in a live setting.
How you created your new album is it a departure from previous projects?
My live performances always been rooted in jazz & rock, so this album with flautist Trey Eley, titled “Freedom” feels like a natural progression. Also, I have produced & engineered for other jazz & rock artists. My previous two albums were the genres of electronic/rock (“Film Music – Inspiration for the Jaded Generation”) and RnB/soul with the group D2D (“Dare To Dream – What’s Your Dream?”). Even though the D2D WYD album was rooted in RnB & soul, it still had live instrumentation everywhere and jazz solos on three tracks, including “I Want To Be Rich”, “Incognito” & “Victorious”.
What inspired your new album?
The main inspiration or goal for this new jazz album “Freedom” was to have live drums from start to finish. Also the concept of musical freedom and not being confined to any one genre played a major role in the creative process for this album.
In what way do you feel that this album is different from past productions that you have been produced?
“Freedom” is the most organic of all of my album productions and features jazz solos. There is jazz flute from Trey Eley on every track and other instrument solos, including trumpet, saxophone, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and even a vocal scat soloing by Kenny Wesley on the bridge of the closing track “Rock With You”.
What was your favorite moment or moments in the process of working on the album?
The making of the “Rock With You” music video with director Jason Baustin was the highlight of the “Freedom” album project for me. Jason was able to capture Kenny Wesley’s actual lead vocal performance on film. Also, “Rock With You” is our most successful music video from the project. Other videos that are spun off from this project include “Juice”, “Alright Now”, “Beautiful Dreamer” (inspired by “Beauty In Freedom”), and the “Freedom Album Preview” video with 3D animation by Michael Carbajal for “Beauty In Freedom”.
Is there any specific song that you like more or enjoyed to produce more than the others?
“Twilight” was especially rewarding because all of the musicians performing on this song are from different parts of the world. “Twilight” featurs Grammy & Emmy Nominated trumpeter Greg Adams (from Los Angeles, CA), violinist Cristina Botnari (from Russia), bassist Mike Gamble from (Washington DC), strings arranger Asaf Piotrekovsky (from Israel) and pianist Vahagn Stepanyan (from Armenia). The collaborative global nature of this piece was also a factor in why the Recording Academy selected “Twilight” to be featured as a “GRAMMY.com Exclusive First Listen”.
Who or what is the primary person or thing that motivates you to compose music?
God is my primary inspiration, but I am also motivated by family, friends, life, love, joy, sorrow, pain, laugher, excitement, beauty, freedom and many other concepts & people.
Who are some of the songwriters you really respect or feel like they influenced your music in some way?
Rod Temperton is my favorite songwriter. His songwriting work for Michael Jackson is legendary. “Rock With You” is one of my favorite songs of all time.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I would like score films more regularly. While I have orchestrated music for five different films, I would like to do this more often.
Our last question is about Marketing. We believe in sharing our ideas with other artists that it can help them to discover new ways of marketing themselves. What marketing advice can you share for artists to best impact the music industry?
Check Matthew Shell on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MTSmusic